Monday, 24 June 2013

[Kikkoman Recipe Challenge] Home-made BBQ Sauce

A big jar of BBQ Sauce made with Kikkoman Soy Sauce

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front recently. May and June were taken over by my final Law School exams. I take exams very seriously: I’m not a worrier but when I’m in the exam zone nothing else even registers of my radar; everything gets thrown to the wayside including friends, family and cooking!

My last exam was just over a week ago and I’m slowly getting back into some sort of routine.
I’ve been having interviews for a job between finishing law school and starting my training contract, socialising with friends and I’ve also been doing a variety of creative projects!

For some reason though I’ve found it hard to get myself back in to the kitchen. So, when I heard about the Kikkoman Blogger Challenge I thought it was the perfect way for me to get back into the kitchen and to start experimenting with flavours again.
Kikkoman are experts in all things Soy Sauce. They’re extremely passionate about their products and want to show just how versatile they are, so bloggers like myself have been challenged to use either their Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce, Teriyaki Marinade or Less Salt Soy Sauce, in a recipe. The catch – the recipe can’t be oriental!

BBQ Sauce smothered chicken on the grill!
I’ll be the first to put my hand up and admit that I only ever use soy sauce in the typical oriental recipes such as stir fry’s, sweet and sour sauce, and to serve sushi so I was quite excited about this challenge! I started by tasting the Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce and trying to break down the flavours I could really taste.
Now there’s no denying that Soy Sauce is quite salty, and also tastes a little smoky so I started trying to think of food stuffs where these flavours could really work. It wasn’t long before I came up with the idea of making home-made BBQ Sauce!

This BBQ Sauce can be used in a number of different ways – smother chicken wings in it and bake in the oven, dollop into a burger bun, dunk in your chips, or even spread it over a pizza base as an alternative to tomato sauce!
Is there any better way to prove just how versatile soy sauce is than by using it in a super versatile sauce?!

Here’s how to do it:

Monday, 17 June 2013

[BBQ Recipe] Honey and Mustard Glazed Chicken

Honey and Mustard Glazed Chicken on the BBQ

The English summer weather is unpredictable to say the least. As I’m writing this, we’ve have torrential rain, glorious sunshine, and a lot of cloud cover over the space of just 7 days.

It’s no surprise that the English folk react so crazily when the cloud breaks and we finally get to see a bit of the sun.

When the sun comes out to play where I live the smell of BBQ’s begins to fill the air. And I must admit my family are no different.
The beauty of a BBQ is that you can cook almost anything on it. This summer I’ve already shown you sizzling summer prawns, char grilled tuna, as well as barbequed courgette and bulgur wheat salad. This particular weekend however we didn’t have any special food in.

Key ingredients for Honey and Mustard Glazed Chicken

The sun had come as a bit of a shock. The weather man had been saying for days we should expect the hottest weekend yet, but Saturday came and went and it remained overcast though a little warmer than usual. With the clouds overhead we assumed there was no point getting the BBQ out, but by Sunday afternoon the sun was shining brightly and it was time for me to raid the cupboards!
We’d got chicken breasts in the fridge that we intended to use later in the week so this was where my inspiration started. I butterflied the breast, making the surface area larger and the fillet thinner so it would cook quicker on the BBQ.

I didn’t just want grilled chicken for dinner though. I wanted to jazz it up a bit!
Out of the cupboard came mustard, honey, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, pepper and garlic – and so my honey and mustard glazed chicken was born!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

[BBQ Recipe] Barbequed Courgette and Bulgur Wheat Salad

Barbequed Courgette and Bulgur Wheat Salad

It can be really difficult to watch your weight when heading to a BBQ with friends and family. There will be a mountain of meat, some sumptuous fish, and if you’re lucky the odd veggie kebab on the BBQ too. The table of sides often isn’t much better with mayonnaise laden potato salads, coleslaw swimming in yet more mayonnaise and sugary condiments.

My Mum and I are often the bringers of “green salad” to these kind of events but the limp lettuce tends to get pushed around the plate. One leaf might make its way into a burger bun if its lucky.
With that in mind I’ve started making a conscious effort to serve up more exciting salads when cooking up a storm around a BBQ.

Before I thought if people weren’t willing to eat a simple green salad, why would they be willing to try a cous-cous or bulgur wheat one? I won’t lie to you, I have had mixed success in this regard. My Nan and Grandad simply won’t touch the stuff, but it turns out the rest of my family are much more willing to try new things.
With that in mind here’s one of my favourites. It’s a warm salad with the courgette grilled and served over the fluffy bed of bulgur wheat at the last minute. This gives it a bit of theatre and people feel like they’re not betraying the BBQ!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Butternut Squash and Coconut Curry

Butternut Squash and Coconut Curry served with chapattis!

They say that owners look like their pets (I’m hoping to be the owner of a pug soon...does this mean I look like a pug?!)

They also say men marry women who look like their mothers (does that mean Mr KG thinks I look like his Mum?!)
But what does the food someone eats or cooks say about them?

Self portrait?
I often think that people who cook exotic food must be reasonably well travelled. There’s a big difference between someone who likes to order the odd Chinese or curry and someone who cooks pasta from scratch, or has an authentic recipe for lamb tagine.
And so I wonder – what do the recipes on this blog say about me?!

Unfortunately I am nowhere near as well travelled as I would like to be. I have been to all of the obvious places in Europe – France, Spain, Germany and Greece. I’ve also been to Prague. But that’s really where the extent of my “travelling” starts and stops.
From a young age I’ve had a desire to go to new places and when I wrote my first ever bucket list when I was 13 it included travelling to India, Japan, Russia and China. These are most definitely still the 4 places I would like to visit the most. Since beginning to learn Mandarin I feel like my dream to visit China is becoming more and more possible. I’d love to fit in a month long tour of China before I start my training contract but I just have to keep on hoping for now – after all a temporary job and a flat with Mr KG are way higher on my list of priorities.

I may not be well travelled but I am well eaten – if that’s even a saying! I’ve certainly tried my fair share of curries, some of which were more authentic than others.
Wherever I’ve lived (or Mr KG has lived) we’ve always been in pursuit of a good curry. I’ve also been fortunate enough in the past to have a friend from Bangladesh who’s Mum LOVED to cook us curries for revision sessions back during my A-Levels. Another friend spent a lot of time in Nepal and brought home recipes for authentic Nepalese curries.

Silky coconut curry with butternut squash, red chilli and lentils

One day I hope that I will be able to share a traditional recipe passed down to me on one of my travels, but that might be for a while yet.

Until then, all I can do is share with you a recipe for one of my favourite curries which I cook at home. The idea has come from a variety of dishes I’ve tried both at home and in restaurants so it may well be a twist on a classic, who knows!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

[BBQ Recipe] Char grilled Tuna Steak

Char grilled Tuna Steak

Last week we were fortunate enough to have blue skies all of Sunday. Dad was out in the garden, Mum was sunning herself on a beach somewhere off the south coast and I was revising. BUT, we still managed to find time to have a BBQ that evening.

On Sunday I shared with you my Summer Sizzling Prawns, an incredibly simple way of livening up seafood before popping on the BBQ. Today I’m sharing yet another BBQ fish dish (can you see a theme here?)

Tuna steaks have been a favourite of mine for a while now. Around the age of 16 I started going off the giant mound of blackened burgers and sausages that would invariably be served up at any family BBQ. I’d become more conscious about my weight and quite frankly was bored of the same old processed rubbish. Seafood came to the rescue as I soon realised that you could have fresh, healthy, non-processed food on the BBQ too!

You shall have a fishy on a little dishy...
Nowadays I’ll be the person who rocks up to the BBQ with vegetable kebabs, corn on the ob and some sort of fish to stick on the Barbie. Today it was tuna.
Tuna is so delicious cooked on the BBQ that sometimes I like to simply give it a few mins either side, and serve alongside a salad with a squeeze of lemon. This time, I decided to jazz it up a bit.


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